Country women unite to help rural communities
THE Queensland Country Women's Association has spent almost a century providing a vital helping hand for rural communities across the state.
This week members gathered in Ipswich to discuss how they could secure the future of the organisation going forward.
About 100 women from across the QCWA's southern region concluded a three-day conference last week, discussing fresh ways to keep the country institution relevant this year and beyond.
Guest speakers shed light on ways to get the word out and ways to attract new members, particularly online and on social media.
Members also put together resolutions to lobby the government in regards to issues related to health services and communication in regional areas.
The passion for the organisation has remained strong with some attendees coming from as far as Charleville, which would take five days out of their calendar including trave ltime.
State vice-president southern region Margaret Grayson said the QCWA started in 1922 as a way to get women in remote areas, who were generally without cars or telephones, together.
"We're trying to make it more relevant," she said.
"What we've found is the biggest growing area for membership is the cities because they don't have a network of women together.
"They're off doing professional things and you don't have a big social group. The things they are learning are those traditional skills. They want to know how to cook, how to knit and how to crochet.
"Our relevance is women do not have a network of friends.
"They don't have people to go to talk to. It's such a rushed lifestyle now. You don't have time to do things."
The Ipswich branch has nine members but a "twilight" branch could be introduced soon to attract more members.
"We're just hoping the women can take back a lot of this (new information) to their areas," Ms Grayson said.
"There are a lot of city women here and we're just getting them to understand what it's like in the country as well.
"They want to help the rural and regional areas. They get to know the ladies and what's important for them."